Monday, December 20, 2010

Second Christmas in Thailand

Hello every body
Well, this last week, Elder Jensen and I had companionship exchanges with the zone leaders. I was with Elder Phanom (ผนม). I was way excited to work with him. I met Elder Phanom in the very beginning of my mission when I was in Lopburi for my first two transfers. I remember telling him that I hoped we could have one day that we could be companions together. I had almost forgot about that when as we were getting ready to switch back Elder Phanom asked "So is your dream fulfilled?" I laughed and told him yes.
We switched off for two days and because he had served in Ubon for 6 months, he knew some different neighborhoods to go inviting. So he took me around one day to find new people to teach.
This week we may not be having any baptisms. Well at least the ones that I talked about last week. (อว้น) and (วัลย์) or fat and one won't be getting baptized this week because they had to run off to do some family things so we haven't had enough time to get them ready but, they will get baptized next month.
However there is someone that might still get baptized this week. Her name is jitrii or (จิตรี). I think I wrote about her the last week or two. She has been really exciting to teach. Let me explain the story. So about three weeks ago we ran into her in front of her house and invited her about Heavenly Father. Well she had been studying a new religion/ cult I'm not really sure what it is. That a guy in Bangkok started where he claimed to know about a spiritual father. So she was interested to know what our thoughts were on Heavenly Father. She asked questions like, What does he look like? or Do you have a picture of him?' So we sat there and taught her about the restoration and showed her one of the photos of the restoration. we didn't have a lot of time to talk at that meeting because we didn't have a member with the priesthood with us so we couldn't teach but we did set up another appointment with her. The next day we returned to go back and teach. We taught more about the restoration, and in the end we asked her to pray about it. Well she said no. Normally that would be where we stop teaching and find someone else to teach but, Elder Jensen and I both felt something about her. So we asked if we could come back another day to talk, she agreed. We went back again and tried to teach about the restoration again and she still refused to pray at the end of the restoration. One thing we realized when we taught her after the second time is that we had been taking young adult members to help us teach. She is about 67 years old so in the end according to Thai culture the young adults are still children and she wouldn't even listen to them. Well that night we asked if we could meet her at the church next time. This time however we took the first councilor in the branch presidency with us to teach. That night we gave her a tour of the church and told about each of the different rooms. This is where she began to change with the Spirit. At the end of that lesson we committed her to come to church. she said she would come. This was 2 Sundays ago. she came and she began to open her heart. The next Monday we saw her with two members, a husband and a wife. We learned at that time that jitrii was a retired nurse. The sister that we brought was a nurse as well. That helped a lot. However that night everyone shared their testimony about prayer. One thing I have learned as a missionary is that nothing is more powerful then 4 people in the room sharing simple testimony. Well after everyone shared, I asked a question that I don't think I have ever asked anyone. It was, "What do you feel right now?" she said good. Then I asked have you ever felt like this before. she thought for a minute then said that she had felt the same the first time that she walked to church when we gave her a tour of the church. Then she had felt it again when she went to church. Next she said that she felt this almost every time that the elders had come. Then Elder Jensen and I both testified that that feeling was the Holy Ghost. And then everything clicked. She understood. So we committed her to pray and she said that she would try.
Well the next day as Elder Jensen and I were studying we received a phone call from jitrii. She said that she had received her answer and asked if we could come over that night. We said that we would be happy to. During that morning Elder Jensen and I prayed to figure out when we should give her a baptismal date. After praying we received an answer that surprised both of us. That was that she was to be baptized on Christmas day. That night we asked her if she would be baptized and she said yes. So every night following, we have seen her and taught everything that she needs to know to be able to pass the interview to be baptized. It's amazing what the Spirit can do to people. For example we taught her the Word of Wisdom and she said that she had been very, very, very addicted to coffee. but she said that she would stop drinking for the last couple of days. She has had a really bad headache because of the addiction. Every concern that she has had she has solved herself and put her trust in the Lord. So far as we know she is going to get baptized on this Saturday.
OK i have to run
I love you all Merry Christmas.
Elder Brandon John Holt

Monday, December 13, 2010


Hello Family
Well I'm going to make this a little short because I need to send a good letter to President Smith. However let me tell you of our week.
I'll start on Wednesday. This last Wednesday, we had to travel to Si sa gade the providence next door to Ubon for a meeting with our zone and the assistants to the president. They thought a lot on how to truly work through faith as a missionary. One thing I definitely learned is that our faith is definitely shown through our Thoughts, Words and Actions. For example if we are truly committed to our purpose as a missionary, we will be able to enter any house and teach a lesson.
Let me tell you some of the miracles that happened this last week to illustrate. Remember jitrii (จิตรี) She is the lady that we found because we talked about Heavenly Father and she was interested in that. Well, for the last week she told us most determinedly that she would not want to learn anymore because she told us that she could not follow the things that we asked her to do. Mainly to go to church and pray. Well on Friday, we asked her if we could we could meet her at the church to teach because it might be a little better of an environment to learn. Well really she said that she was feeling bad that we had to come from the church to see her at her house, so we conveniently offered her to meet her at the church and she accepted. So at church we gave her a tour of the church and used very faith filled words for example " when you come to church you will see that the members will be the ones behind the pulpit teaching the rest of the members." or " In the third hour of church you will come to this room where you will be with other women called Relief Society" Instead of " if you come" Well our faith was rewarded because at the end of the tour she said that she would come to church on Sunday. And she did. She is going to be a great member in the future.
Another miracle is that we found a lot more new investigators than we have ever found in this area. The whole district was power boosted with the spirit and faith.
We also gave two investigators that have been learning since April baptismal dates for the 23rd of December. Their names are fat and one. I'm really excited for them. I'll try to remember to write more about them next week.
So in Thailand, more specifically in the east part of Thailand, there are these yellow signs posted on the power poles. They say things like Jesus is the redeemer of the world, or Repent of your sins, or have you written your name in heaven yet? What's interesting is, in my stay in the Issan is that I still can't figure who places these signs and apparently no one else knows because they either ask us if we put them up or they say they don't know either. I used to think that they were annoying and that no one really pays attention to them but as I have been here in Ubon, many of our investigators have mention the signs at one time or another for one reason that they decided to learn with us. To this day I'm not sure who put them up but if I figure it out I'm going to thank them for opening peoples hearts to the gospel.
OK I love you
Elder Brandon John Holt

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Teaching new investigators

Hey family
Well today its a nice 80 degrees outside and everyone is dressed up in jackets and coats. I'm doing great.
This week has been a lot of work. We spent a lot of time finding new investigators. I don't know why but many of the investigators that we have taught in the past aren't keeping the appointments that they originally set up with us and it seems to be hard to meet with us again. So with the free time we have more time to find new investigators.
For example this last week we found through our efforts 14 new investigators. I think everyone we taught are in families. That's what I have found out the biggest key to the gospel is. Is teaching families. Because that is what the gospel is.
One of the new families that we found is a family of women. We were going into an area that we once had several investigators in several months ago so we were hoping to find maybe one of the former investigators and see if they were ready to learn further with us. At the same time we were going to visit a investigator and try to invite them to church to see if they would go. As we were walking buy some houses there was a tent with some childrens clothes hanging up. I saw a lady with her baby sitting down and smiling at us as we walked by. Normally I try to avoid all contact with women here that smile at us because usually they are thinking differently when I talk to them ( I'll let you figure that out)but, for some reason I went against all reason and turned around and walked into the tent to talk to the lady. After a few minutes of talking, I figured out that her name was boo(ปู) or crab in Thai and that she lived there with her step mother and step sister. She had recently divorced and moved out to Ubon to be with family. Her step mother was named bui (ปุ้ย) and her step sister named yoke (หยก). We told them that we wanted to share a message about family with them but, we needed a member of the opposite sex to be with us. They agreed and on the following day we returned to talk about the gospel and how it helps the family. They were really excited to learn. We are going to try to see them again tomorrow after we teach English with them. I'm excited to teach them.
We found another person that I am really excited to teach today. Her name is jitri(จิตรี) She is a elderly lady who loves to take care of cats. Lots of cats. Lately when we have gone tracting to find new investigators we stay in areas with in 1 or 2 kilos from the church. That way many of those we teach really don't have any excuse to not go to church because of travel. Anyways every now and then, in walking in an area that we go often we find a street that we haven't ever taken a step on. So it was with Jitri street. We hadn't walked out very far until we saw her in her house, which is a old townhouse that doesn't have a front wall. She uses tarps to block it off. We called her and she looked up and asked in broken English, "You are missionaries right". We said yes and talked a little about what we had to share. She asked, "Are you guys Christian?", this time in Thai. And I said that we were Mormon. That threw her off. She then asked, "I have never heard of Mormon. What is your God". I answered Heavenly Father. She then asked ya well what does Heavenly Father look like, I then began to explain that he looks like you and me or we look like him because he created us in his image. He has a perfect body like us. This seemed to intrigue her because she invited us in. Needless to say we didn't go in because we needed to have to have a member of the opposite sex with us. But she had a lot of questions and began to ask. It turns out that she had been reading a book about a guy that has a religious theory about how everyone has a spiritual father. She showed us the book and showed us a 12 sided star on the back she said that this is what the book says
Heavenly Father looks like. Then she asks do you have a picture of what Heavenly Father looks like? Thankfully I had a passaolng that talks about the first vision. I pulled that out and showed it to her and pointed out in the pitcure that see here is a picture of what he looks like and his Son Jesus Christ as well. She was even more intrigued. So we asked if we could come back to see her again with a guy memeber with us. The next day was just as cool. We are going to go back tonight to see her again.
Well I'm really short on time today
I love you all
Elder Brandon John Holt